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Legacy of Old Diamonds


#1

Today I bought a second hand ring with two 1/2 carat diamonds form a
local man, who inherited it from his father, who had it made from his
mother’s diamonds. Kind of sad really, because nobody in the family
is especially interested in it.

Now here is the thing. I live in a small Mayberry kind of a town and
there are plenty of people who have fond memories of these people.
They certainly are not celebrities, but they were remarkable people
who have been part of the fabric of this community forever. I bought
the ring for the materials.

Should I treat these stones as anonymous “estate” pieces? It seems a
shame not to let the buyer know the legacy of the material since
these people were my friends, but I tend to think that if I tell
anyone locally about the provenance, that they might feel a little
creepy about it. The son who sold the ring doesn’t care what I say.

Any small town jewelers out there with experience in this situation?
I very rarely buy second hand jewelry.

Stephen Walker


#2

Stephen

My first thought would be is to re-cut the two diamonds immediately
and reset them into a new mounts. Voila! New stones, olde thoughts
are no longer there, new money in your pocket. Plain and
simple…why re-cut? If the stones are ‘that’ old, I bet they would
be of an old fashioned style of cutting, “open” culets, high tables,
irregular girdle shapes, very large Crown facets. Get those two
stones 2005 modernized and easy to sell condition once they have been
altered.

Just my quick and humble thoughts…Gerry Lewy!


#3
should i treat these stones as anonymous "estate" piece?' 

i think yes,i am from a small town and now live in large city, i
have found that people want stone/rings that have a love story with
happy ending…no one in the family liked this piece,so i am selling
it to you at a good price… kinda loses the romance/ interest for
love birds looking for a “once” in a life time purchase…and
if your small town is like mine was, this could play out…'did ya
see jane’s engagement ring?..old mrs jones died and no one in the
family wanted it… so bubba bought it for her, was’nt that the
sweetest thing?!" yuck!

good luck
lisa mc


#4

Hi Steve, I would simply ask anyone looking at the stones if they
would like to know the history, or if they would prefer to leave it
to their own imagination. Sometimes you don’t have make a black/white
decision.

marianne


#5

Hello, you said that the son doesn’t care what you say. Well, that
says a lot. I would suggest you not say a word about it. It is not
worth the hidden dangers. The are 2 half carat diamonds period.
Selling them should not be difficult, take them out of the mounting
and sell them. Unless the ring is really beautiful, melt it. Hanging
on to someone else’s memories is kind of creepy as you yourself
said. If the ring is nice, set some Sapphires or something else in
the ring and sell it. It requires tact to handle this sort of thing,
the son has issues, don’t point them out.

Dennis


#6
It seems a shame not to let the buyer know the legacy of the
material since these people were my friends

Stephen,

As a pawnbroker of 15 years, I do business in a town of 4,000 folks;
it’s the county seat, in a county with a pop. of 15,000 souls. I
often acquire jewelry that once belonged to deceased friends. The
most memorable is a 2+ carat diamond solitaire of dubious quality. It
was the engagement ring of my church’s elderly pianist. She’d worn it
for over six decades. Six months after her death, her son brought it
to me, and he never looked back.

You say that these folks were your friends. I submit that you, or
someone close to you, would appreciate their history more than anyone
one else. What I would suggest you do, is create a present out of
the stones. A present to a fellow friend, a present to your wife, or
better yet, a present to yourself. Keep those stones as a
remembrance of friends gone by. I’ll bet there’s something you would
like to make for yourself out of these, and you’ve got a durn good
excuse to do it. You’ll cherish that piece all the more, because
your friends once cherished those stones too. Best of luck in your
decision, Stephen.

Steve (If I ever try to sell that 2+ carat diamond solitaire of
dubious quality, I wouldn’t sleep nights, and my wife would divorce
me.) Stempinski

Steve’s Place
Jewelry Repair
While-U-Watch
Madison, GA


#7
You say that these folks were your friends. I submit that you, or
someone close to you, would appreciate their history more than
anyone one else. 

Thanks, Steve.

Stories like yours are the kind of response I was hoping for. I do
appreciate the suggestions from other Orchadianss well. The previous
owners of these diamonds were friends, but not especially close. The
father and grandmother ran the local diner back when I was a kid. One
night, when I was barely old enough to be in a bar, the father told
me his harrowing war stories from the Pacific in WWII and Korea. The
son who sold the ring to me, lost his own adult son about two years
ago, less than a year after the death of his father.

I really have no desire to keep the diamonds myself. I told the son
that I would make them into something that I hoped would do them
justice. The stones are of middling quality. Two women who work for
me take opposite views. One, who never knew the folks personally,
says she would not want to know if she were to get the diamonds. The
other, who knew the family and is very sentimental about everything,
says she would want whoever gets them to know. I’ll probably have to
play it by ear when it comes time to either tell where the diamonds
came from or hold my tongue.

Stephen Walker


#8

Steve,

Another option for Antique and Estate jewelry is to sell it to a
wholesaler who can then market in a different area of the country.
Of coarse you will have to sell it at a price that allows the
wholesaler to offer it to a retailer who will then sell it to the
public.

We are always interested in unusual Antique or Estate jewelry
including Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco and Retro styles as well as
Mexican, Native American and Danish Silver.

If anyone has questions about items they have please contact me off
list.

Greg DeMark
email: greg@demarkjewelry.com
Website: www.demarkjewelry.com
Custom Jewelry - Handmade Jewelry - Antique Jewelry


#9
Two women who work for me take opposite views. One, who never knew
the folks personally, says she would not want to know if she were
to get the diamonds. The other, who knew the family and is very
sentimental about everything, says she would want whoever gets them
to know. I'll probably have to play it by ear when it comes time to
either tell where the diamonds came from or hold my tongue. 

Hi Stephen,

I strongly recommend you tell whoever gets the diamonds their exact
history. I’ve heard too many stories about jewelers who deliver
estate diamonds to customers without also disclosing their origins
and believe me, it can be a real train wreck.

It is entirely possible that the one person who didn’t want to know
the origin of the stones may discover the fact in simple
conversation. I’ve listened to that story from jewelers who have
lost 3rd generation customers in just such a scenario.

Honesty, even when brutal, is essential in maintaining a good
reputation in this industry. Withholding the provenance of estate
diamonds can ruin you. Many people are extremely superstitious about
them and will be devastated and angry if they discover their story.

The two women who work for you may prove the point. The sentimental
one would obviously love hearing the tale, while the other would
not. If the latter received one without full disclosure of the
stone’s history and found out later…well, ask her how she’d feel
if that were to occur. I think her answer will bear me out. Whatever
you decide, I wish you the best.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL


#10

I don’t understand the angst that this subject brings some people.
These aren’t Hitler’s diamonds, or diamonds stolen from the grave,
or tied to a famous murder. They just belonged to some nice local
folks. If they are remounted before sale, nobody could possibly
connect them with the former owner except YOU. Your only
responsibility, if they are older cut, is to express that the stones
are from an estate, and leave it at that. If they are modern cut,
you don’t even need to do that. Modern cut, undamaged diamonds are
never ‘used’, they are ‘renewed’ when they are removed from the
mounting. When you buy a parcel of diamonds from a diamond dealer,
you have no way of knowing if they were cut last week, or were part
of a Cartier bracelet that was damaged and disassembled after 50
years of use. Don’t sweat the pedigree - unless the history adds to
the value, there is no need to tell it. If asked, I would tell the
potential buyer that out of respect for the privacy of the past
owner, you can’t supply that

Lee Cornelius
Vegas Jewelers


#11

I agree completely with Lee’s comments on reusing diamonds: there
are plenty of real problems and ethical issues to get worked up
about. There are no new (natural) stones, there is no new gold. As
long as there is no misrepresentation of the exact physical makeup of
materials or about the creation/manufacture of the finished piece of
jewelry, there just isn’t an issue.

marianne


#12

Lee I added my two cents earlier which were basically the same as
yours. BUT you said it so well. We are all in business folks, read
this and use it. I have recently been thinking about how one deals
with customers, I have come to the conclusion that they are
customers, not friends. Perhaps, out of the store they are, but…
keep it professional while at work and you will all be happier come
the end of the day. Dennis


#13

The day I become so money-hungry that I fail to provide full
disclosure of an item to my customers, many of whom ARE friends, is
the day I hang up my torches and microscopes.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL


#14
The day I become so money-hungry that I fail to provide full
disclosure of an item to my customers, many of whom ARE friends,
is the day I hang up my torches and microscopes.

I believe that the discussion about the concept of disclosure had
transgressed from legal concepts to protect the consumer from fraud,
to moralistic-ethical-inky-dinky when the subject is about provence
of a diamond. Information so as to not be liable for illegally
procuring diamonds is one thing. How much info to pass on regarding
what cooties are inhabiting a stone seems like belief in voodoo.

Hypothetically, there is a jewelry store robbery, stones are fenced,
your supplier buys them from someone claiming they were part of an
estate, you buy them and sell them not knowing they were stolen,
your karma is what? Your beautiful ruby belonged to some one in Burma
who was mugged or killed for that stone, you don’t know the story,
how now brown cow.

You might live in a house that a murder occurred in, owned a used
can that was involved in a hit and run, ect. Holding a diamond
hostage to some story about who owned it or what happened does not
seem fair to an innocent diamond that had no active part in who owned
it or what circumstances transpired.

Richard Hart


#15
I believe that the discussion about the concept of disclosure had
transgressed from legal concepts to protect the consumer from
fraud, to moralistic-ethical-inky-dinky when the subject is about
provence of a diamond. Information so as to not be liable for
illegally procuring diamonds is one thing. How much info to pass on
regarding what cooties are inhabiting a stone seems like belief in
voodoo.

All true. Yet it’s not my belief in voodoo, hoodoo or any other
"doo," Rather, it is the belief of certain customers who have a deep
superstition. Those particular clients return to me because they know
I respect their views and so, return for more business. They take
their beliefs as seriously as any customer who wishes to avoid
conflict diamonds and colored stones.

James in SoFL


#16
I believe that the discussion about the concept of disclosure had
transgressed from legal concepts to protect the consumer from
fraud, to moralistic-ethical-inky-dinky when the subject is about
provence of a diamond. 

Actually, this is where the discussion started. When I originally
threw out the question, I had no worry what-so-ever about my legal
situation. I was worried that while some people would enjoy knowing
where the stones came from, others would not. I would hate to spoil
the sale by misreading the customer.

what cooties are inhabiting a stone seems like belief in voodoo.

And we all know that many people who love jewelry do believe in that
kind of voodoo. As much as we benefit from this intense feelings for
the symbols we craft, there often comes a time when you have to say,
“It is just a symbol!” like, your marriage is not going to fail
because you lost your ring.

The diamonds that started this discussion were bought from a family
with a dramatic history, some of it heroic and historic, but more
likely to be remembered for flipping burgers at the local greasy
spoon or sipping beer at the tavern. Their story is well known
locally. The old man had a pair of “brass ones”. If I was selling his
gun collection the legacy would be worth a fair premium. Their
marriages didn’t last and their offspring are scattered.

Given that it is reasonable, knowing the history, to assume that
someone who is superstitious would consider the material jinxed, I
will disclose the history to anyone locally before I make the sale.
Since most of my sales are not local, I will say that the stones are
from an estate piece if the sale goes out of town, but hope that I
can find a customer who can be happy to know where they came from.

Stephen Walker


#17
How much info to pass on regarding what cooties are inhabiting a
stone seems like belief in voodoo.

And if you happen to believe in voodoo, or have similar religious
beliefs, you can always do a purification ritual to banish the
"cooties" before you sell the stone. Presto, change-o, no more
info…

Lisa Orlando


#18
Given that it is reasonable, knowing the history, to assume that
someone who is superstitious would consider the material jinxed, I
will disclose the history to anyone locally before I make the
sale.

And I would ask, what is to be gained by passing on what seems like
an interesting story, or some might consider gossip. What is the
value of the judgement used, and the criteria by which we empower the
fortune or misfortune of others. Perhaps we empower ourselves in a
less than noble way by contributing to passing on that
might be none of our business to disseminate. When you buy the
diamonds, do you get permission to share the story? If someone buys
a diamond for an engagement, gets married, gets divorced do you focus
on why the diamond was bought…love, or the fact that it is now a
product of a divorce. If your customer is superstitious and you tell
the story, you are supporting what I would consider a fear based
belief system.

Are you going to tell every customer the details of how African
diamond miners are cavity searched at the end of their shift, give
them the history of all the injustices done to all the humans
involved in procuring each gem material and metal? How the
environment is fouled in the mining process? What’s the difference?
If you know the story, do you have to tell it? If you are afraid the
person might find out where the diamond came from and might hold you
responsible, unless you know for sure they would, you are assuming,
Now, people like stories, stories sometimes are just stories, and are
not the truth. “God” made everything, we have temporary possession,
and it might be a far stretch to assume that we can have a negative
effect on something God made greater than the inherent good contained
within by the fact of what or who created it. So is your belief
system a downward spiral, or do you believe in inherent greater good
contained within everything regardless of how it appears?

Richard Hart


#19

Hi Richard,

I have been following this thread and had to put in my 2 cents… To
me this IS a moral/ethical matter. If the house or ruby or whatever
you sell has an unpleasant fact attached to it but you are unaware of
the fact, you have no dilemma on your hands. You cannot disclose what
you do not know. But if you do know, then you have to grapple with
whether or not to tell. To me, striving to be honest has nothing to
do with whether I will be found out. But it has everything to do with
"Can I live with myself once I have said/done this?" And this is a
personal moral decision. The legacy of the old diamonds is a matter
of ethics precisely because the story is known to the seller.

Raji


#20

hi

i don’t work in diamonds, however i do look for stones that have
history, that i can use in designing it’s next life. we bought from
ebay when it was just starting out, and got a dingy broken brass
lampshade drape from 1893, the beads themselves were tubes,
irregular cut raggy on the ends, and as we didn’t have the victorian
household i took the piece apart.

i saved the brass, and saved out the beads. they are a off white to a
creamy ivory. there are widespread color variations in the tubes some
you can almost see thru. i used the beads to make amulet bags, they
started out rectangular, but i devised a way to alter the top and
they became miser purses. i used 28 gauge wire with pre strung beads
to make the body, then some 18-20ga round wire depending on the size
of each bag. there is one on the http://imageevent.com/patmcaudel
website, wildpoppy account

they also sent me some yellow seed beads yellow center with a clear
glass over that, size 11, from the 1920’s. i used a strand to make a
small amulet bag, had a 6mm yellow “paste” gemstone from that same
era, as a friends mom ran a dress shop in nyc during that time.
hadn’t intended to sell that one, but once she tried it on, i
couldn’t get it off her neck. she didn’t even blink when i doubled
the price. no sticker as it was display only. don’t do that anymore!

round about way to get to my point but i love learning as much as i
can to stll the customer about what was going on with their beads or
have some wonderful green glass from the 20’s elongated
emerald cut, looks like green agate or close… but my customers
love that group…and i only have 3 left il think.

pat
wild poppy designs…